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Toyota Maintenance: Shock Specifications

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Author: Joe Micciche - July, 2000

That's not a worm farm! Underneath that mess is my Toyota 3.0L V6. After a full day on the (muddy) trail, things get ugly, and the engine runs just a bit warmer than usual due to the coat of mud.

If you ever hit any water or mud when four-wheeling, chances are you've had the nasty brown spray all over the engine compartment. Thanks to the engine fan, it usually gets all over and into everything in the bay. Obviously this is not good for the engine, as the mud and debris packs into the radiator fins, gets into pulleys, and just finds it's way into places you didn't even know existed. Also, the dry mud on the engine will make the engine run warmer as it acts as an insulator.

Fortunately, cleaning it is simple, and should be done after every trip into the muck. For some of us, that's after every trip.......

Make sure the engine is cool before doing any work on it - you don't want to spray any chemicals or cold water on to the engine due to risks such as warping a head or starting a fire. Also, you shouldn't cover the sensitive electronic components when they're warm, due to the risk of melting the high-tech covers -- in my case, blue plastic bags from the local market.

Plastic bags, accrued from the local grocer, work well to cover the fusebox and distributor.

Be sure to cover the distributor. After a day of wheeling, there'd be no excuse for getting water into the distributor while in the driveway. Also cover the fuse block, just to be safe. On this EFI engine, there isn't anything else to protect, but other EFI and carb engines may have different requirements, such as an igniter, air intake, carb, etc.

At less than $3 a can, 3M works very well. I use an entire can at once to foam the engine top to bottom.

My degreaser of choice is 3M Foaming Engine Degreaser. I've tried everything on the shelf, and this is the only one that actually cleans, doesn't stink for a week afterward, and is safe for everything under the hood. It does smell when you put it on, but I've found that after a cycle of warming the engine and driving for 30 to 60 minutes, the funk is usually gone. Liberally coat the engine and radiator with the degreaser, and let it soak in for about 15 minutes. Be sure to also spray underneath to get the oil pan and other components not easily accessible from up top.

Easy on the water, no need to blast the grime off.

After it's worked for 15 minutes, I take a garden hose and just spray it down. Avoid using the hose at wide-open nozzle - you may blast vacuum or electrical lines and connections loose. A medium-heavy mist works great. Spray it well from all angles and underneath to get as much grime and degreaser off as possible.

All done. Vacuum diagrams and other underhood caution stickers are again visible.

The moment of trepidation: starting the engine. If you refrained from blasting the engine with water, it should fire up - I have yet to even have mine stumble upon startup (knock on wood). Once you've sprayed it off, fire up the engine and let it warm up, or go for a drive. This will help evaporate the water in the engine compartment, and bake off the remainder of the degreaser.

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